How to prepare for hip surgery

It is important that you watch the following video before coming in:

What to expect during your time in hospital

You should bring into hospital comfortable day clothes such as loose fitting trousers or a skirt and trainers or other sensible shoes with backs; a slightly bigger shoe size than normal is often useful to accommodate any swelling after the operation.

If you have any small pieces of equipment, please bring these in, for example: long handled shoe horns, leg lifters, walking aids.

On the day that you are admitted for your surgery you will be reviewed by several members of staff including the nurse looking after you and the doctors.

You will also be reviewed by therapists; A Physiotherapist will assess your hip strength and movement. They will also explain the exercises and routine following the surgery.

An Occupational therapist will discuss with you hip precautions and techniques for managing at home, such as the best way to wash and dress, getting in and out of bed and in and out of cars.

What to expect after surgery

It is normal to feel some pain and discomfort, which will be helped by medication. It is important that you follow the advice given by your nurse and take the pain medication regularly, as this will help with your recovery.

Once you have returned to the ward following surgery and the anaesthetic has worn off, you will be helped to get out of bed by a physiotherapist or a nurse. On the first time getting up, the aim will be to sit out in a chair and walk a short distance with the use of a walking frame. Not everyone will achieve this the first time, but you will be guided to do what is best for you.

You can begin to move your leg and start the exercises you have been taught by the physiotherapists.

Over the next few days, it is important that you get used to getting up and dressed everyday.

You will increase your walking with a physiotherapist and if you can, you will progress to using elbow crutches.


A physiotherapist will review your exercises with you, but it is important that you are also practising these on your own in between.

The aim of physiotherapy is to ensure that you are walking safely and can manage the exercises before going home. We will practice stairs with you and also show you how to get in and out of bed whilst taking care of your new hip.

Most people are discharged before day 3 after surgery, but everyone is different. You may be discharged sooner or later than this.

Before you are discharged home you will:

  • have had an X-ray that the surgeon will review
  • the surgeon and nursing staff must be happy with you medically, including your wound being healthy
  • the physiotherapy team will check that your walking is safe, that you are able to do your exercises and that you will manage at home. If needed you will practice the stairs
  • the occupational therapist will check that you understand the precautions, make sure that you will manage at home and assess if you may benefit from additional help or equipment

When you are discharged home:

  • It is important to continue with the hip precautions (no bending your hip up towards your chest more than 90⁰, no twisting and no bringing your leg across an imaginary midline down your body) for 12 weeks from the time
    of your surgery.
  • You should continue with your exercises until you are reviewed in clinic by your surgical team.
  • Try to keep active and gradually increase your activity.
  • Increase your walking using the aid that was given to you in hospital. Whilst you are still experiencing pain, it is advisable continue to use a walking aid. It is better to walk normally with an aid than develop a poor walking pattern and a limp by getting rid of your aid too early. Overtime you will be able to progress to not using a walking aid if you were doing this before surgery. For further information on how to use walking aids, please click here.

Most people manage to progress their walking and increase their activity themselves following a total hip replacement, but if you feel that you need further input and advice then you can refer yourself for physiotherapy by reading information on the Musculoskeletal Outpatient Physiotherapy page.

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